16U: Japan rallies against Australia
Sac Bunt in 8th lifts Japan to 10-9 Victory

Romo Chavez Stadium. Aguascalientes. August 26, 2011.

A sac bunt by Taishi Bamba drove in Takuya Nagasawa in the bottom of the eighth to help Japan complete a 10-9 comeback win over Australia. They are now 3-2 in the second round of the IBAF 16U Baseball World Championship, but only would have a chance to reach the championship game with a loss by Team USA to Venezuela in the evening. Australia dropped to 0-5 in the second round despite their best game in the tournament since their win over Brazil in the first round.

It was a back-and-forth battle between these two teams. Australia had broken a 2-2 tie with three runs in the third inning and still led 6-4 midway through the sixth despite a solo homerun of Daiki Asama in the fifth. Japan tied the game in the botom half of the frame thanks to a sac fly by Yoshida and a RBI single by Yasuda.

They even topped that and went up 9-6 one frame later on doubles of Keita Nakagawa and Taisei Kobayashi. The team from Down Under however was able to counter right away and evened the score in the top of the eighth due to an error and RBI singles by Hayes and Shepherd.

The outcome was decided in the bottom half of the eighth. Nagasawa led off the frame with a single up the middle, moved to second on a groundout and to third through a wild pitch before scoring on Bamba’s sac bunt.

Both starters didn’t last long in the contest. Kieran McCluskey (AUS) allowed five hits, four runs (2 ER) and two base on balls in five innings. Shogo Nohara (JPN) issued seven hits, five runs (3 ER) and no walks in three innings. Bamba (W, 1-0) not only drove in the winning run, but also received the win in relief, getting the final out in the eighth. Jarrad Zahradnik (L, 0-1) took the loss.

On Saturday both teams will be at Panamerican Stadium in Lagos de Moreno. Australia is hoping for its first win in the second round in their matchup with Venezuela. Japan is taking on Team USA in the night game.

(from IBAF Website)